Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Applying Pressure

Teachers have historically had a lot of latitude in testing and grading.  I am not referring to standardized, government mandated tests but the ones that they personally control.  Some of them preferr to test a lot, others little.

When I was just a wee college student, it was fashionable to allow the class to have a hand in determining the course testing schedule.  We would generally be allowed to vote on it (the instructor reserving the right to exercise a veto).  Final only?  Mid Term and Final?  Three Hourlies and a Final (non-cumulative)?

In one class we actually chose one test a week - it was a summer term and it meant "no studying over the weekend" if we did a test every Friday. It made the weeks fairly intense, but it turned out to be a wonderful system.  The instructor didn't want to grade over the weekend so after a review and a 45-60 minute test we would exchange papers, grade them, discuss them, and then turn them in for entry in the grade book.  Immediate feedback - everyone in the class wound up doing very well.  Nice.

Now, how about an instructor who does hourly tests, assigns graded homework and does pop quizzes.  His Final Exam is 80% of the grade - all the rest of the work only comprising 20% of the grade....seems like a real dismissal of the majority of the effort that is put forward in his class...

but  maybe that is just me.

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